Body composition is an important endpoint in animal growth research and in estimation of the economics of animal production. The labor involved in the determination of chemical composition has elicited many less intense methods using instrumental determinations or prediction equations based on measurement of fat depths, areas, or weights coupled with measurement of specific muscle depth or area (usually the longissimus muscle). For economic estimates of meat production, the carcass (minus head, hide, feet, and viscera) is used. However, from a biological or an energetic perspective, all components are important. Prediction equations used to extrapolate to the whole animal should be tailored to the specific species and perhaps need to account for age, breed, diet, sex, treatment, etc. Ultimately, using established methods and good sample preparation, chemical analysis is the gold standard for all body composition measurements.

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